Emma Stone opens up about the 'little green monster' from her childhood

Emma Stone: "I was a very very anxious child."
Emma Stone: "I was a very very anxious child." Photo: Shutterstock

Emma Stone has spoken candidly about living with anxiety, sharing that she has experienced the condition since childhood.

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, the 28-year-old La La Land actress opened up about undergoing treatment for her anxiety as a child - and how much it helped her.

"I drew this in therapy," Stone said, when Colbert showed the audience a hand-scrawled picture.

Emma Stone's "Green Monster". Image/YouTube.

"I was nine, and I was in therapy at that time," she explained. "This is me, I guess, and this is anxiety here - the little green monster that someone backstage said looks like a uterus, with some ovaries. I didn't mean for it to be hormonally related in any way. Like I said, I was nine."

Stone admitted that she was a "very very anxious child" and had a lot of panic attacks. "I benefited in a big way from therapy," she said, adding that she began seeing a therapist at the age of seven. "I still have anxiety to this day, but not panic attacks."

It's not the first time Stone has shared details of living with the green monster of "constant" anxiety. In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, she said: "When I was about seven, I was convinced the house was burning down. I could sense it. Not a hallucination, just a tightening in my chest, feeling I couldn't breathe, like the world was going to end."

Stone also shared more details about the "monster" and how she handled its presence in her life. "I wrote this book called "I Am Bigger Than My Anxiety" that I still have: I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren't true," she said. "And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I'm doing – let it speak to me, but don't give it the credit it needs – then it shrinks down and fades away."

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Stone, who is currently starring in the film Battle of The Sexes, also appeared in a stigma-busting video series for Child Mind Institute's "Speak up for Kids" earlier this year, where she and other celebrities shared their stories of growing up with a mental health or learning disorder.  Asked what she wanted her "younger self to know," Stone said: "To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way, is actually part of what makes you amazing."

According to Australian mental health and well being initiative Kids Matter, while some "fearful and anxious behaviour" is common in children, some children can exhibit more anxiety than others and have difficulty coping with a range of normal fears and anxieties. 

"Professional help might be needed if a child's anxiety stops them from joining in at school or in social activities, or stops them doing things that other children their age do easily," the site advises.